At The Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails (Hardback)
  • At The Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails (Hardback)
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At The Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 448 Pages / Published: 03/03/2016
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One of the New York Times Top Ten Books of the Year 2016 Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 by the Guardian, TLS, Observer and Mail on Sunday * AS READ ON BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK * Paris, near the turn of 1933. Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their friend Raymond Aron, who opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking. Pointing to his drink, he says, "You can make philosophy out of this cocktail!" From this moment of inspiration, Sartre will create his own extraordinary philosophy of real, experienced life - of love and desire, of freedom and being, of cafes and waiters, of friendships and revolutionary fervour. It is a philosophy that will enthral Paris and sweep through the world, leaving its mark on post-war liberation movements, from the student uprisings of 1968 to civil rights pioneers. At the Existentialist Cafe tells the story of modern existentialism as one of passionate encounters between people, minds and ideas. From the `king and queen of existentialism' - Sartre and de Beauvoir - to their wider circle of friends and adversaries including Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Iris Murdoch, this book is an enjoyable and original journey through a captivating intellectual movement. Weaving biography and thought, Sarah Bakewell takes us to the heart of a philosophy about life that also changed lives, and that tackled the biggest questions of all: what we are and how we are to live.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9780701186586
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 744 g
Dimensions: 222 x 162 x 41 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"It's not often that you miss your bus stop because you're so engrossed in reading a book about existentialism, but I did exactly that while immersed in Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Cafe. The story of Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger et al is strange, fun and compelling reading. If it doesn't win awards, I will eat my proof copy" -- Katy Guest * The Independent on Sunday *
"My book of the year is Sarah Bakewell's At The Existentialist Cafe, a marvellously rich and evocative journey through one of the most powerful philosophical movements of the twentieth century... This graceful book speaks to our parochial and inward-looking age." -- Sudhir Hazareesingh * Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year *
"A wonderfully readable combination of biography, philosophy, history, cultural analysis and personal reflection." -- John Walsh * Independent *
"At the Existentialist Cafe takes us back to...when philosophers and philosophy itself were sexy, glamorous, outrageous; when sensuality and erudition were entwined... [Bakewell] shows how fascinating were some of the existentialists' ideas and how fascinating, often frightful, were their lives. Vivid, humorous anecdotes are interwoven with a lucid and unpatronising exposition of their complex philosophy... Tender, incisive and fair." -- Jane O'Grady * Daily Telegraph *
"Quirky, funny, clear and passionate...Few writers are as good as Bakewell at explaining complicated ideas in a way that makes them easy to understand." -- Craig Brown * Mail on Sunday *
"Packed with out-of-the-way knowledge and has a cast of weird characters such as only a gathering of philosophers could supply." -- John Carey * The Sunday Times *
"[Bakewell] writes well, with a lightness of touch and a very Anglo-Saxon sense of humour... Bakewell is a skilful and nuanced teacher. Her explanation of the mysteries of phenomenology, clear and succinct, is as brilliant as any I've heard in a French university classroom... Fascinating insights." -- Andrew Hussey * Observer *
"A riveting narrative." -- Caroline Sanderson * The Bookseller *
"A book that is a kind of collaboration between [Bakewell's] exhilarated younger self and the more measured, adult writer she has become... A work that is both warm and intellectually rigorous... Bakewell has not written a textbook - but anyone looking for one on phenomenology and existentialism would be advised to read this instead. She has a knack for crystallising key ideas by identifying choice original quotations and combining them with her own words... Her book is a clearing in a dense philosophical thicket few of us have the ability or inclination to navigate alone." -- Julian Baggini * The Financial Times *
"A surprisingly sparkling book... Interesting and amusing... Pleasant and entertaining." -- Philip Hensher * The Spectator *

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“Apricot cocktails and philosophy...”

"At the Existentialist Cafe" tells the story of modern existentialism and existentialists. It was written as a historical account of philosophical idea and the thinkers's lives behind then it has got an... More

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